Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Valerian root is one of the active ingredients in Denes Tranquil+ Powder


Valerian is a perennial plant with a large root system and one that is native to Europe. It grows in rough grassy areas where the soil is damp. Its name is derived from the Latinvalere, which means to be healthy and may have originated from Valerius, an ancient herbalist who used it medicinally. One alternative suggestion is that it is named after the Roman province of Valeria. It is likely that the name for the sedative drug Valium was derived from Valerian.

Valerian is a valuable herb and has been used throughout history for its relaxing and calming effects on the nervous system. It is used to treat anxiety, tension, excitability and hysteria. In the middle Ages it was used to treat some types of epilepsy, an area where it can still help today. The actual plant or dried herb is very attractive to cats that are drawn to it by its scent. The value of valerian as a sedative is backed by its inclusion in many pharmacopeias, books listing the medicinal properties and indications of commonly prescribed medicines. It is the root which is used medicinally.

How Valerian can help

  • Valerian is a herb which is classed as a nervine. These are herbs which have a calming effect on the nervous system, whilst at the same time toning and strengthening it. These properties point to its use in helping with hysteria, hyperactivity, excitability, anxiety and restlessness.
  • Included within the list of main properties of valerian is that of being a sedative. Fortunately, Valerian does not cause drowsiness. It can be used successfully to reduce tension and anxiety, restlessness, excitability, hysteria and panic. It can also be used to help treat some types of epilepsy.
  • Valerian also has an effect on the bowel and will help dispel and prevent any gas build up by stimulating peristalsis.
  • As a hypnotic, valerian is classified as one of those herbal remedies that will help induce sleep. As such it can be used to help animals that pace around at night and find it difficult to go to sleep.
  • Valerian has antispasmodic properties and is one of the remedies herbalists sometimes use to help relieve pain. This is normally the type of pain associated with colic or indigestion, or that linked with back problems or where the muscles are in spasm.
  • Valerian is often combined with other herbal calming remedies such as skullcap and hops to help treat problems associated with the nervous system.

Indications for using Valerian

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Fear related problems e.g. thunder and fireworks
  • Hysteria and excitability
  • Management of epilepsy
  • Insomnia
  • Some behavioural problems such as separation anxiety
  • Colic and indigestion
  • Back pain where due to muscle spasm

How Denes can help

Valerian is one of the active ingredients in Denes Tranquil+ Powder, along with Skullcap, and Vervain, both of which also have calming effects. Denes Tranquil+ Powder is indicated in the treatment of situations where calming (without drowsiness) is called for. Available in pots of 50g complete with dosing measure. The recommended dose is as follows:

Cats, toy & dogs – ½ level scoop twice daily
Small dogs – 1 level scoop twice daily
Medium dogs – 2 level scoops twice daily
Large dogs – 3 level scoops twice daily
Very large dogs – 4 level scoops twice daily

Treatment can be continued on a long-term basis where needed. Tranquil+ Powder is also suitable for short-term use although several days treatment is usually required for the powder to achieve its maximum effect.

Other fact sheets to read